“And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.” Luke 1:5-7
My earnest prayer for myself and my friends who walk daily with barrenness or other significant loss is this: that our lives in the midst of deep loss, would reflect the great worth of Jesus Christ through our actions, thoughts, and words.
That’s not a natural response without the power of the Holy Spirit.
And yet, the testimony of Elizabeth’s life after many years of barrenness was that she was righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord.
She did not say, “my pain is too great to deal with. How can God expect me to deal with this infertility AND live a holy life?” Nor did she say, “Once God gives me the baby I’ve been praying for, THEN I’ll follow Him.”
Elizabeth instead chose to follow God wholeheartedly even before God healed her infertility.
Ok, relax- this is not a call for all of us to become legalistic. Instead, Elizabeth’s example has challenged me to love God more deeply.
“So be very careful to love the Lord your God.” Joshua 23:11
What’s the difference between simply obeying God and loving God? Let me share a story…
My husband and I were playing guitar one afternoon with the worship leader at our church… and while I was fumbling through and ‘obeying’ the music sheet- attempting to hit the right chords at the right time… our worship leader was loving playing his guitar.
It showed in the extra flourishes and notes he added in between the chords simply for the delight of worshiping God with the beauty of music. It showed in the way he was careful to have all the chords written correctly on the music sheet. And it showed in the beautiful quality of tone that came from his guitar and from the years and hours of practice it takes to become skilled in playing any instrument.
I want to love God that way.
Not just trying to obey him because I know I should. But loving Him with all my energy, and having that love overflow into worship every minute of my life. I want my love for God to cause me to steal extra hours from my schedule to stay longer in prayer. To make me careful as I study to learn more accurately about God so that I can honor Him well. And to overflow in not only my words, but also my thoughts and emotions behind those words.
“Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.” Matthew 22:37-38
God chose Elizabeth to bear the pain of infertility most of her life, and Elizabeth turned around and loved God back. Her love for God showed in the way she followed Him wholeheartedly.
She must have seen how great and personal God’s Love is. We only love Him because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19) And Elizabeth was looking forward to the Messiah coming. But we have the greater benefit of being able to look backward in time and see Jesus’ incredible love for us- that He died to rescue us and make us God’s children. (1 John 3:1)
What is your response to the pain God has allowed in your life? Why do you have that response?
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:3-4